Well as it is Valentine’s Day, I thought what could be more appropriate than discussing the theme of love in the Savoy Operas. It cannot be denied that love features heavily in all of Gilbert and Sullivan’s works – whether successful or unrequited – so here are my favourite Gilbert and Sullivan love themed songs!
5. The Sorcerer – Thou Hast the Power Thy Vaunted Love
Possibly a bit of a cheat this one, as it certainly isn’t a love ballad and I actually find Alexis Pointdextre remarkably insufferable. In this number Alexis berates Aline for not wanting to take a love philtre. However the music is utterly beautiful and I’m a sucker for a gloriously sung tenor ballad.
4. H.M.S. Pinafore – The Hours Creep on a Pace
This is such a lovely song, with Josephine desperately trying to reconcile her love for Ralph Rackstraw with her duty to her father, the ship’s Captain. As the song progresses you can feel Josephine’s lack of enthusiasm for Ralph’s lowly station, and the fact she might end up eating dinner “served up in a pudding basin”! The whole song is made by the single line “and yet he is so wondrous fair” when you really feel her maidenly dilemma.
3. The Pirates of Penzance – Oh Here is Love
A rather sweet little number, when Mabel has agreed to wait for Frederick until he comes of age on 29th February 1940. The emotion in the song is truly obvious and its just a genuinely lovely moment in what is on the main a comedy.
2. The Gondoliers – On the Day When I Was Wedded
I had to include this one – The Gondoliers is my absolute favourite of all the Savoy Operas. This song absolutely slays me – with the formidable Duchess of Plaza-Toro giving lessons to her daughter on how to love a man you don’t and how she became the wife and husband in the relationship to her complete satisfaction.
1. Iolanthe – None Shall Part Us From Each Other
This has just simply the most beautiful lyrics, with Phyliss and Strephon declaring their love for each other that won’t be beaten despite the fact she is human and he is half a fairy.
I am not a massive fan of Iolanthe, but this is probably my all time favourite Gilbert and Sullivan song.